Tết Festival

The culture of Vietnam, from lion dances to spelling bees

Into the mid-’70s, among Asian immigrants, Seattle was primarily a hub for the Chinese and Japanese. Its Vietnamese population was practically nonexistent, and the few families here had to conduct their prayer services in Japanese temples. But in the decades since, Seattle’s become home to a thriving Vietnamese community, along with a slew of pho restaurants. The Seattle Center hosts its 12th annual Tết Festival this weekend to celebrate the country’s rich culture and its integration into our city, offering an array of free cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, music, dance, and martial arts performances, and more. Given that the best round-trip deal from Seattle to Saigon starts at a whopping $1,800, this is perhaps the closest you’re going to get in a while to exploring southeast Asia. Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., 684-7200, www.tetinseattle.org. Free. Events start at 10:30 a.m. today and Sun., Feb. 3. ERIKA HOBART

Sat., Feb. 2, 10:30 a.m.; Sun., Feb. 3, 10:30 a.m., 2008

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